Small Shade Tree: Tristaniopsis laurina

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I am often asked to recommend a small shade tree, something that can fit in a small garden and has a dense canopy which you can sit under. Most people also ask for a tree with lush foliage and showy flowers and perhaps decorative bark, plus they usually request it to be quick growing…..well this tree ticks all the above boxes except the last….but sometimes you can’t have it all!


Tristaniopsis laurina or the Water Gum is seen often in street plantings and this summer they have been putting on a most impressive show with their large clusters of golden yellow flowers. This tree is found growing naturally in moist locations, particularly along river banks and in rainforest openings, therefore it does appreciate extra water in the drier months. It will grow to around 8 – 10 metres in cultivation and also responds well to pruning. Not only does it provide shade for humans but birds like honeyeaters and lorikeets will shelter in it.


A new cultivar of Tristaniopsis laurina has been released called Tristaniopsis ‘Luscious’ it has larger leaves and the bark is more contrasting making it more striking, only a few minutes ago I read on a nursery website that it makes a good native replacement for Magnolia ‘Little Gem’ ! ha! I need say no more…;)

An image of ‘Luscious’ is below.



2 responses to “Small Shade Tree: Tristaniopsis laurina”

  1. Wendy

    I really want to request this Tristaniopsis Luscious as a street tree on out front verge. Im not sure I want it so big thought If i got one do you think i could keep it to 5m or so with pruning?

    1. Kath Gadd

      Hi Wendy,

      Tristaniopsis laurina ‘Luscious’ could easily be kept to 5 metres with regular pruning. The power lines are usually at 5 metres so any planted underneath get a regular hair cut 😉

      Best Wishes,


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